“It’s a good job it was called AMERICAN sniper so I knew the guy blowing away women and children was the good guy” I joked as I left the cinema, and a joke it certainly was! There is a lot of controversy surrounding this film (probably unavoidable with it being based on the Iraqi war) however after watching it I just can’t understand why its being targeted so aggressively.
Many websites and newspapers have called it “pro-war propaganda”, “bloodthirsty and hateful of Iraqis”. Seth Rogen, the man who nearly single handily destroyed Sony pictures and started World War 3 tweeted ” reminded him of “Nation’s Pride,” the fake Nazi propaganda film about a sniper.
I don’t agree with any of that, I personally feel that the director (Clint Eastwood) set out to show just how difficult it is for soldiers to serve in a war-torn country, to lose close friends, the difficulties of returning back to ‘normal life’ after these experiences and to tell a story of a man who served his country. He never set out to make a film looking at both sides of the war, who was right and who was wrong, he doesn’t get bogged down with politics. He shows it from the point of view of Americans down on the ground fighting for their country and he does it amazingly well.
The film does include some difficult scenes to show the hugely difficult choices some of these soldiers had to make on the battlefield to ensure the safety of their own men, Bradley Cooper who plays the main character (Chris Kyle) acts extremely well, you can feel his emotions as he makes these difficult decisions right down to every heartbeat. One scene in particular where a little boy picks up an RPG and aims it directly at the American soldiers had me on the edge of my seat and my hand over my mouth.
You witness the journey of this young cowboy who joins the army to make something of himself, you’re with him for his first kill through to his last but what this film does amazingly well is show the true difficulties these men faced when returning home. No film has ever made me realise just how hard it would be to adjust back to normal family life, from living in a war-torn, dangerous & lawless country where every noise gets your heart racing to returning to a world where your only job is to take the garbage out on a thursday, the lack of purpose, fear and adrenaline must be so difficult to deal with and I now have now a much greater respect for the guys who have been and fought for our countries. If this was the message Clint was aiming to get across in his film then he succeeded in every possible way. (You could say it was a long shot that paid off)
If I was to throw in some negatives the only one that jumps to mind is that baby scene. It’s so clearly a doll, why this scene wasnt edited to hide the fact is beyond me, the cinema actually filled with laughs as the doll was past from its caring mother to Bradley, it did throw some comedy into what is a very serious film, even if it was unintentional.
The action scenes were fantastically directed and were well paced throughout the film, spliced with the emotional home visits, dotted throughout. The film shows Chris Kyle in a very admirable way. He isn’t portrayed as an unstoppable legend but a man constantly battling with his emotions, he’s clearly a broken man in parts and Bradley delivers the greatest acting performance of his life to convey that. The room fell silent for a good few minutes as the credits rolled and its been a long time since I’ve seen that in my local cinema. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that keeps you hooked till the very end.